The Easter weekend saw my first multi-day trip away since surgery and being away from home would mean being away from my main ostomy supplies. I would need to calculate how many supplies I would need.

What To Take?

The trip I was taking to the Lake District so I could easily take more supplies than I required but it would be a great way to see how I cope being away and how much supplies I will actually use. Of course, the body does what the body does so just because my body uses either more or less supplies on this occasion, it’s still good practice to understand my needs. 

Based on a loose estimate of 3 bags a day, which is what I’m prescribed rather than what I use, and going away for 4 days I took 15 spare bags in total along with a pack of dry wipes and plenty of black bags. I’ve just started using adhesive remover but find I don’t always need it so took 10 with me.  In addition I had my Beyond Direction Essentials case for on-the-go which already had two bags in it.

The Trip

Having crawled out of bed at 4am with the aim of quickly getting on the road, a cursory glance at the bag showed that it didn’t need a change and I’d be able to hit the road and deal with any changes in a service station. I made good ground and I made it as far as the award-winning Tebay services on the M6 in Cumbria. It’s a pity that their accessible toilets didn’t have more space to place my supplies so it was a balancing act on the hand dryer and sink.

At the summit of Barf with Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw in the background.

Arriving in the Lake District, and near my final destination, I stopped off near Bassenthwaite lake for a 5 mile run/walk/crawl around Barf and Lord’s Seat. It’s an extremely tough climb up to Barf (especially when you’re still recovering) but extremely rewarding and not a peep from the stoma. I was able to complete the run, complete my journey to my destination and it wasn’t until later in the day that I needed to make a bag change. This was pretty much the theme through the entire trip with minimal changes and no changes whilst out.

I Lived Life To The Full

As is the best way of handling a stoma is to try and forget it’s there. I’m far from completely forgetting about it but I’m getting better at it. The second day in the Lakes I managed another run/walk of 4 miles up and around Great How near Thirlmere although having lots of gassy beer the night before meant that the bag was repeatedly filling up as if my stoma had been left open like a broken gas tap! The usual trick of venting the gas did the trick and it eventually calmed down. 

Thankfully my support belt does a pretty good job of keeping everything together although on occasions the belt can ride down causing the bag to ‘pop out’.

The summit of Great How looking out onto Thirlmere

On the third day of the trip I was able to undertake a full day of activities without worrying about the bag at all. I visiting a car boot sale, spent a few hours walking around a wildlife park, spent a tough few hours scaling a tough hill and finished with ice cream at the popular Twentymans in Allonby before I needed to change my bag. 

As already mentioned, the body can decide to do what it wants so just because my stoma was well behaved, doesn’t mean that it always will be. That said, it’s so reassuring to know that I can achieve so much, including some tough physical activity, and not have to worry about the stoma. At all times I had my Beyond Direction Essentials case with me just in case. 

What Did I Actually Use?

Actually, less than I thought! A lack of needing to change bags whilst out meant that in total I only used 7 bags only a few adhesive removers. The Beyond Direction Essentials case was there in case I needed a bag change on top of a ‘Wainwright’ but I never used it.

My Next Trip

My next trip is Malta in a few days time and like Cumbria I will be extra cautious with the number of supplies I will be taking with me. I’m hoping for a repeat of Cumbria but who know how my body will react over there. There’s also the three hour trip on the plane to contend with but I’ll looking forward to discovering what will happen (most probably an incident free flight!).

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Diagnosed with IBD in 2002, I have experienced the usual ups and downs of having a chronic disease and tried numerous medications but the time finally came in 2018 to elect to have surgery to improve my life.

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